By Tendai Mugabe
Five new ambassadors presented their credentials to President Mnangagwa at State House in Harare yesterday and expressed interest to improve relations with Harare in several key areas. The diplomats were from New Zealand, Myanmar, Mauritius, Tunisia and Vietnam.
First to present his credentials was Ambassador Gerrad Burrell of New Zealand.
Speaking to journalists after presenting the credentials and a brief meeting with President Mnangagwa, Ambassador Burrell said they were keen to improve economic cooperation with Zimbabwe.
“One of the issues we discussed was economic cooperation,” he said. “We want to increase trade and investment between the two countries. The President also spoke about scholars and I am pleased to say that we have scholars from Zimbabwe studying in New Zealand and we want that to continue.
“Finally, we talked about the ease of doing business and we will begin a project very soon in this country once we have spoken to the Ministry of Justice on the time it takes to register a business online.”
Speaking to journalists after presenting his credentials Ambassador Dung said: “We are a very close to Zimbabwe. We share the same history of fighting colonialists for us to get freedom. We are interested in trade and development.
“During the year 2000, trade between the two countries was over US$2 million and in 2013 it reached US$17 million. We import a lot of cotton from Zimbabwe and we export rice and apparel (clothing) to Zimbabwe.”
Incoming Tunisian Ambassador Narjes Dridi said: “The discussion is about the future relationship and cooperation, how to enhance it and His Excellency the President encouraged me to come back and work in order to identify the opportunities for cooperation and economic development focusing on trade and bring some Tunisian industrialists to invest in Zimbabwe.”
Ambassador Swe is Myanmar’s first diplomat to Harare.
He told journalists: “Our bilateral meeting with the President was very good and very successful. We talked about cooperation especially in agriculture, mining and industry.”
Last to present credentials was Mauritia’s new ambassador to Zimbabwe, Mr Viyage Putchmun.
Speaking to journalists after presenting his credentials, Ambassador Putchmun said: “We raised the issue of bilateral cooperation between Zimbabwe and Mauritius and we raised issues like investment protection and promotion agreements.
“We raised the issue of MoUs to facilitate professionals, like doctors, lawyers, coming to work here.”
Ambassador Putchmun said they were also keen to venture into the sugar cane industry in Zimbabwe.